50 Must-Have Architect Tools

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Architect Tools

Disclaimer: There are affiliate links in this post. This means that at no cost to you, I will receive a small commission if you purchase through my link. I will only ever promote the products and services that I trust, have personally used and 100% recommend. You may read my full disclosure policy for more information. Thanks for supporting my business in this way.

For this post, I have put together a list of the architect tools we use most often. Whether it is sketching, drafting or model making, these will get the job done.

UPDATED: June 25, 2019.

In no particular order, here are 50 Must-Have Architect Tools.


1. Architect's Scale

High-quality, black anodized aluminum scales have a large profile, hollow core, and tapered edges. Printed white graduations and color inlaid furrows.

Supplied in hard plastic case. All architect scales have the following graduations unless otherwise noted: 3/32, 3/16, 1/8, 1/4, 1/2, 1, 3/8, 3/4, 1 1/2, 3 inches to the foot; one edge to 16ths.

See Also: The Top 5 Architectural Scales 

2. Moleskine Classic Notebook

This basic, yet classic Large Squared notebook is one of the best-selling Moleskine notebooks. This reliable travel companion, perfect for calculations, thoughts and passing notes, has a cardboard bound cover with rounded corners, acid free paper, a bookmark, an elastic closure and an expandable inner pocket that contains the Moleskine history. 

See Also: The 10 Best Sketchbooks That Will Make You A Better Designer

3. Metal Architect Swing Arm LED Desk Lamp

  • Revolutionary Design - Advanced LED technology goes with modern design, redefine architect desk lamp.

  • Easy on Your Eyes - Patented diffusion panel with reflection light, 144pcs of high quality LED bulbs,Ra85 high CRI LED, protect your eyes comprehensively.

  • Memory for Brightness & Modes - Memory function for 6 levels of brightness and 4 lighting modes, free to adjust and easy to keep personal setting.

  • Incredibly Adjustable - 360° swivel head, 16.3+16.3 inches 170° adjustable long arm, infinitely rotatable body. Strong clamp supports up to 2.36 inches tabletop.

  • Longevity & Energy Saving - 24-Month Warranty, 50000 hours lifespan, 20% energy consumption as a incandescent bulb does.

See Also: The 25 Best Architect Lamps

4. Handheld Laser Distance Meter 

Designed with versatile functions and especially for high-precision distance measurement. Lightweight and very simple, instant, reliable to measure. Remarkable accuracy and fast measurement. Smart volume and area calculations based on measured length, width and height.

See Also: The 10 Best Laser Measuring Tools

5. Drawing Storage Tube

  • Affordable, Black Plastic Telescoping Document Poster Tube with 3.5" diameter that expands from 24.5" up to 40".

  • Poster Tube is made of a very rigid plastic to protect contents from bending or creasing in transit. Tube is also water and light resistant, protects materials against fading from exposure to sun light

  • Now includes an Extra Long Shoulder Strap that is comfortable for use even when the tube is fully extended.

  • Twist off, threaded lid with contact card for easy labeling of tube's contents.

6. Liner Pens

  • Pigment liner bonus sketch set of 6 line widths (0.05mm, 0.1mm, 0.2mm, 0.3mm, 0.5mm, 0.8mm)

  • 4+2 free pack in stand up easel case

  • Lightfast waterproof smear free ink

  • Long write out length

  • Polypropylene barrel for long life and long metal tip

7. Tracing Paper

  • High transparency permits several overlays while retaining legibility.

  • Accepts pencil, ink, charcoal, as well as felt tip markers without bleed through.

  • Exceptional quality for detail or sketch work.

8. Self Healing Cutting Mat

  • You get a smooth surface even after multiple uses. The cutting mat possesses unique self healing properties allowing the cutting mat to reseal itself after every cut.

  • The self healing mat contains different sets of clear grid lines, ⅛ measurements to help the cutting process.

  • Thick and double sided to protect your tables or work areas.

See Also: The 5 Best Self Healing Cutting Mats

9. X-ACTO Knife Set

  • Take on any project with the versatile X-ACTO Compression Basic Knife Set.

  • The 3 included knives are designed to make clean and accurate cuts in light-, medium-, and heavy-weight materials, while the 13 included blades offer different cutting abilities for any project or craft.

  • Each knife features the easy-change blade system, making it easy to quickly change blades for the right cut.

  • The included nylon zippered compression case keeps everything together in one convenient and safe kit that can be stowed away or taken on the go.

See Also: The 10 Best Utility Knives

10. LED Light Box

  • Super thin tracing light box, super convenient, masterpiece designed drafting table.

  • No shadow, no glare. The drawing pad provids the most comfortable lighting environment for animators, designers, art enthusiasts, children and readers.

  • Dimmable touch technology of the LED lightbox helps to achieve the ideal light level and provide ideal working lighting environment for penmanship and design.

See Also: The 10 Best Light Tables

11. Feet-inch-Fraction Calculator

A huge time saver for adding and subtracting fractional dimensions.

12. Adjustable Triangle

Draft any angle with this tool. 

13. Engineer's Scale

Not to be confused with the Architect's Scale, the Engineer's Scale uses base 10 divisions instead of fractional - depends on the drawing discipline. 

14. Easy Cutter

The perfect tool for cutting bass and balsa wood for model making.

15. Technical Mechanical Pencil

The go-to drafting pencil.

16. Rotary Action Lead Pointer

Keep your mechanical pencil on point with this sharpener.

17. Small Mitre Box Kit 

Perfect for cutting small scale wood pieces for your models.

18. 3M Super 77 Spray Glue

The best glue for attaching paper or card for presentation boards or models.

19. Gel Super Glue

The best, fastest-drying glue for making models.

20. Metal Rulers

Essential when cutting a straight line. Plastic or wood rulers can't stand up to a knife.

21. Mini L-Square 

Perfect for cutting small model components. 

22. Drafting Brush

Keep your drawings clean with this handy brush.

23. Electric Eraser

If you happen to make a mistake, this will make it as painless as possible to reverse.

24. 3D Printer

Take your model making skills to a whole new level. Create limitless forms and geometries.

See Also:

FlashForge 3D Printers, New Model: Finder

25. Laser Cutter and Engraver 

Cut through up to 3mm wood or acrylic in any shape imaginable. 

26. Clear Ruler with Metal Edge

Great for model making. See what you are doing while cutting along a metal edge.

27. Cut Resistant Gloves

Save your fingers from a meeting with your Exacto knife when model making.

28. Architectural Graphic Standards

The must-have resource for every architect.

See Also: The 50 Best Architecture Books

29. Bose QuietComfort 20 Acoustic Noise Cancelling Headphones

I use these every day. A must-have for any architect or architecture student to avoid distractions at work or in studio.

30. iPad Pro

Sketch your ideas with the revolutionary stylus. 

31. 48" Metal Ruler

Keep your fingers safe when cutting large sheets of material.

Securcut 48.5 Inch Safety Ruler

32. 12" Paper Trimmer

Perfect for trimming small scale drawings. 

33. 43" Paper Trimmer

A huge time saver when trimming large scale drawings.

34. Measuring Tape

Essential tool for any architect verifying dimensions on site.

See Also: The 10 Best Tape Measures

35. Drawing Set

Contains two bow compasses, a divider, an extension beam, ink bow attachments, and a slip handle for ruling pens.

36. French Curve Set

Get outside of the straight line box when drafting.

37. Circles Template 

Large and small circles drafting template.

38. Retractable Knife

Use for thicker model materials like foam board and cardboard.

See Also: The 10 Best Utility Knives

39. Graph Paper

Not just for engineers, layout designs and sketches.

40. Drafting Board

The starting point for every young architect.

See Also: The 5 Best Drafting Boards

41. T-Square 

Perhaps the most "architect" thing on this list. The must have tool for hand drafting.

See Also: The 10 Best T-Square Rulers

42. Electric Foam Cutter

Great tool for cutting foam for quick massing models.

43. Drafting Dots

Keep your sketch paper in place with these drafting dots.

44. Professional Drafting Dry Cleaning Pads

Use this to prevent smudging on your sketches or hand drawings.

45. Stainless Steel Erasing Shield

Erase only what you want and keep the rest. 

46. Modeling Clay

You are only limited by your imagination with this model making material. 

47. Scale Figures

Give your models a human touch. Different scales available. 

48. Drafting Chair

Stay comfortable while drafting.

See Also: The 10 Best Drafting Chairs

49. Architect Lamp

The classic architect lamp design.

See Also: The 25 Best Architect Lamps

50. Adobe Photoshop

Photoshop is THE resource for architects creating or editing images.

I hope this list of architect tools has been helpful, feel free to comment below if you feel something has been left out.


Have a suggestion for a future blog post? Please let me know in the comments below.